Saudi Payments teams with IBM, Mastercard to launch instant payment system

Saudi Arabia’s only financial payments company Saudi Payments (SP) has introduced ‘sarie’ – an instant payments system – in collaboration with IBM and Mastercard.

sarie’s introduction is in-line with Saudi Arabia’s Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) under Saudi Vision 2030, a plan which targets hitting 70% non-cash transactions by 2030.

According to SP, the collaboration marks a key milestone for payments innovation in the region. The company remarked the move is aligned with its efforts to boost the Kingdom’s financial ecosystem, mainly through the adoption of faster payments and improvements to banking reconciliation.

The sarie platform enables bank customers to make instant transactions of up to SAR 20,000 ($5,300) as well as transfers of up to SAR 2,5000 ($660) using aliases such as email address, ID number, mobile number or IBAN number.

SP chose IBM Global Business Services (GBS) – the services and consultancy arm of IBM – to head the project as the system integrator partner and end-to-end digital payments solutions provider.

BM GBS created the solution and built the platform through its system integration methodology and integrated Mastercard’s instant payments platform into Saudi Payments existing banking payment infrastructure, all while connecting it to the IT systems local banks in Saudi Arabia. According to SP, this is the fastest end-to-end rollout of a digital payments system of its kind globally.

Saudi Payments managing director Fahad Al-Akeel said, “The instant payments system ‘sarie’ can enable us to drive usage and engagement across the Saudi payments ecosystem of banks and businesses. It can help lay the foundation for new payments business initiatives, encouraging financial inclusion and banking reconciliation of Saudi banks. We welcome this momentous collaboration with IBM and Mastercard. It is a huge step forward that aligns with our ongoing smart solutions and payments modernization strategy, aimed towards achieving the assigned goals in vision 2030.”

Saudi Arabia Mastercard VP and country business development lead Maria Medvedeva added, “This is a significant milestone in our real-time payments journey and is the result of hard work. Saudi Arabia is an important market for Mastercard, and we anticipate that with this real-time payment system going live in the Middle Eastern region, many doors may soon open for ongoing innovation, both in the Kingdom and further afield.

“The initiative can significantly contribute towards digitizing and modernizing transactions in line with the goals of Vision 2030 and can also help increase the efficiency of the financial systems and offer consumers access to a wider range of financial services, positively impacting the Saudi economy and its citizens.”

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